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Self-Promotion Done Well – Without the Obnoxious Bragging! | Written By: Dorothy Tannahill-Moran

Many women find it seriously difficult to “shine our own light” in our professions and the data, tells the story.  Women in equivalent positions are paid less.  Although we could site numerous reasons for the pay inequity, my observation is that we simply don’t self-promote.

One of the explanations I hear offered up for not self-promoting is to NOT be like the obnoxious bragger we all detest.  I can fully understand.

Then, we leave it there with no forward movement in our professional life.  We sacrifice professional acceleration because bragging seems like the only model we notice.  The good news is: You can self-promote without bragging or being obnoxious.

Bragging v/s Self-Promotion

There is a difference between the two and as long as you steer clear of the following behaviors, you’ll be brag-free.

  • No value to others. If you’ll notice, braggers tend to be so caught up in what they are talking about (them) that they fail to provide the listeners with anything useful.  I call this an “air sandwich”.
  • “Me” Centric talk. A bragger uses too many: “I”, “me”, “mine” and “my” in what they say.  Granted, you do need to periodically claim something is yours with one of those words but keep it to a minimum.
  • Out of balance. We all can accept someone who talks up something they did but a bragger fails to balance that with more inclusive communication.  Anyone who talks about 1 subject too long is a bore, especially if it’s all about him or her.  How much is too much? About 2 minutes.  Time it.

Essentially, a bragger is a poor conversationalist and fails to focus on others or their needs.

If you have ensured you aren’t bragging, it doesn’t mean you are self-promoting yet.  This can still be a show-stopper for many because it might still feel uncomfortable but let’s first look at what your reasons might be to self-promote:

  • You have something to offer the world. If you are a business owner, you have a reason or a purpose for doing what you do. People must need what you offer, or else why be in business? Even if you aren’t a business owner and you work for someone else, you must think you have something to offer that is worthy of payment.  If you don’t share what you were put on the earth to do, how will anyone know what to come to you for?
  • You are doing the world a disservice. If you don’t self-promote you are essentially not allowing your potential customers to enhance their life by your work.
  • Create demand. Let’s face it, you are a product and you want to increase the demand for what you do.  More demand = more money!
  • Differentiate you from others. More than likely, there are numerous people doing the same thing you are or something very similar.  You can help others better understand your unique value – but only if you shine your light on those things that only you provide.
  • If not you, then who? Well, no one will. Someone might eventually, but only after you self-promote and help others “get it” about you.

Now you see, there is real reason to self-promote and avoid bragging.  Let’s get down to steps you can take to self-promote in an authentic and powerful way.  Use any or all of these together or separately:

  • “Seeding” a conversation. This is placing a couple of well-chosen words or phrases in a sentence as part of a conversation.  EX:  “Last week when I was doing a photo shoot for a wedding, I saw the best antique car….” This allows people to know you are a photographer and do weddings.  How’s that for stealth?
  • Describe your end result, not your title. We all hear titles everywhere we go but it doesn’t mean its good to do the same.  It kind of tells us a bit but not much.  Which sounds more memorable and conversation worthy? 1- I’m a financial planner. Or 2 – I help my clients earn 8-10% annually with a unique investment strategy.
  • Give updates. When someone asks you how your week or day went, give him or her a real answer and not the usual superficial stuff.  EX:  I had a great week!  I finished converting my book on Personal Branding to audio – wow was that a learning curve!  (Fun, interesting for promoting your book and very subtle, yes?)
  • Make others the hero to your work stories. By letting other people know of a significant accomplishment, you help them gain a more in-depth idea of the work you do.  Keep in mind; you never do things completely alone.  Other people help you even in small ways.  This allows you to talk about the accomplishment like work collaboration. When you make one person a hero, other people appreciate it.  They assume if they helped you with something, you’d probably talk about them same way.  This makes them want to make you the hero in their stories!
  • Volunteer! The best way to show the world what you bring to the party is to show them by doing it.  Volunteer to help someone with his or her job or business.  This will show you have confidence, are giving and will demonstrate, first hand, what you can do.  Also, when you help others, you’ve got a friend (and advocate) for life.

Hopefully, this is now spurring that big, beautiful brain of yours to think about all types of ways you can self-promote with pride and authenticity.  Now, get out there a play big!

Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran, dedicated to your success. www.introvertwhisperer.com

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